Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review of "Arvo Pärt - A Portrait" eBook by Nick Kimberley

This is an enhanced ebook edition of "Arvo Pärt: A Portrait" which was previously released in 2005 by Naxos Records as a 2CD set with CD booklet to mark Pärt's 70th birthday year . This ebook edition takes the earlier CD booklet text by Nick Kimberley and enhances it by embedding the audio tracks as clickable links throughout the ebook.
Nick Kimberley's essay (about 10,000 words) is still an excellent overview of Pärt's life and work up to 2005. Having the music tracks directly available (when they worked) did also bring up the shortcomings of the Naxos compilation as there are many compositions or additional movements discussed by Kimberley which were not included in the 2CD set. This becomes more obvious when you are reading on for pages and pages and no related music tracks are available.
For the budget price of $3.99 on ITunes though, this is still a very economical introduction to Arvo Pärt's music which will hopefully encourage your further reading and listening. 

The idea of sound elements embedded in your books is extremely exciting and will hopefully be used in future ebooks as well. However, the actual iBooks software seemed to be very buggy and glitchy when I was using it. Tracks would sometimes not start to play or would only play for a few seconds or a few minutes. Because the play button was on the left side of the screen, I often found myself accidentally going backwards in the book when I was trying to play a track. If you exited the program to investigate outside links to iTunes to purchase further recordings the iBooks screen froze up when you returned to the ebook and required a hard reboot of the device (I was testing this on an iPod Touch) to work properly again. So the overall experience was often frustrating.

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